International Teen Blogger: Kenya

The International Teen Club has chosen Kenya to base upcoming meetings discussions, and activities on. To give you all a general idea of the country, I’ve chosen to give you guys information on a couple of tribes that contribute to the native roots of Kenyan culture. There is little barrier or separation between aspects of the modern world and traditional practices in Kenya. Right next to a modern establishment or building there might be a farmer herding cattle, tending to his patch of crops to sustain himself and his family. It is key that the population keep their heritage in mind as they advance into modern society.

Across the border of Tanzania and Kenya is a population of about 1 million people part of the Maasai tribe. “Maa-sai” means my people. In comparison to the overall population of Kenya, this group is a minority. However, through volunteer projects and safaris, it has become one of the most well known contributors to Kenyan culture. Some of the photographers who visited a Maasai tribe noted the welcoming dance the elders performed as similar to a kind of “jumping contest”. It’s common, as a test of manhood and initiation, that young men go through as series of rituals some including killing a lion. Because it is a community where warriors are highly respected and valued to provide and protect the village, the rituals a young boy goes through either brings shame of pride to his household. These people live on a reserve protected by the government along with a thriving community of wildlife. It is not uncommon while on a safari or exploration to see the men of the tribe hunting in traditional red robes.

Here are members of the tribe in their red robes performing what was described as a “welcome ceremony”.masai-warriors

The Samburu tribe is another community of people that contribute to the cultural blend of Kenya. These people share many cultural details with the Maasai tribe, but live in a separate reserves with particular characteristics that set them apart. The young men still go through initiation ceremonies and hold the pride of their household on their shoulders, but must tie their hair in tight red braids until they reach the status of junior elder. Morans, or the warriors and protectors of the tribe, are usually unable to return home to their family or wives until they move up in status.

Samburu_Hair_2304_1-4

Kenya has an elaborate and wonderful history that certainly stretches beyond the short look I’ve attempted to explain in less than 500 words. Hopefully this gave you some general information you can carry with you about Kenya and encourage you to get involved with the upcoming events the International Teen Club will be planning! I used many online sources, but believe it or not, the books in the childrens section of the library about Kenya gave me a good place to begin my research.

Here are my links and one of the books I skimmed through before I began writing:

http://www.maasai-association.org/maasai.html

http://old.magicalkenya.com/default.nsf/_fsafaris1/1?opendocument&s=1&l=1

http://0-web.b.ebscohost.com.sapl.sat.lib.tx.us/ehost/detail?sid=ea517a29-f348-4472-b7a9-69d4b1c4ea6f%40sessionmgr111&vid=1&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=mih&AN=92526775

http://goafrica.about.com/library/bl.maasai.htm

Children’s Book: https://sapl.sat.lib.tx.us/availlim/search~S16?/tkenya/tkenya/1%2C1%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=tkenya&2%2C%2C2/indexsort=-

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